Our What Defines Our Who
“If you love Me, keep My commandments." John 14:15
At the center of the true measure of our faith in Jesus Christ is the way we live our lives. Are we doing what He has called us to do? Are we living as salt to the earth and light to the world? Can we righteously claim identity with Him if we are not earnestly pursuing Him, to do what He has commanded us to do?
“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” Luke 6:46
In recent years, in fact, for decades now a growing number within the Church of Jesus Christ in the United States has been morphing into a social sect of marginally religious individuals, indistinguishable from the masses of people who do not claim faith in God or His Son, Jesus Christ. Notwithstanding, the millions who still gather in churches on Sunday morning or Wednesday or Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons.
Within the greater systems of public and private education God and the truth of His Word have been summarily erased from all teaching on every subject including religious studies for nearly every student pursuing academic degrees. Only a handful of colleges dare to promote themselves publically as Christian or conservative in the values they seek to instill in their students.
In league with those who have dismissed God from their halls of higher learning is our Constitutionally protected “free press” which has waged a vicious attack on the church and all that it stands for, justifying their assault by shining a magnifying glass on the few who misrepresent the faith and promoting them as the true representatives of the whole, all the while ignoring the millions who quietly go about their lives seeking to live as Jesus has taught us to live, loving our friends and our enemies alike, doing good to those hate us and praying for those who spitefully use us and say all manner of evil against us falsely for the fact that we openly identify with our Lord Jesus Christ in the manner of our words and our deeds.
As a result millions of this present generation and their teachers and mentors have graduated and moved into the work force and the political arena with a disdain for all things Biblical at best and a passionate anger to completely rid the whole society of even the mention of God or His righteous commandments to men at worst.
Nevertheless, we who call on the name of the Lord must not be persuaded by those who hate our Lord and us. We must not be seduced by the news or entertainment media to believe that God is not going to judge all men for their works, that some how if we just “love” and let “love” we will all live in peace.
That would be true if we all defined and embraced the same definition of Love. Love for those who follow Christ is GOD. Love is God and God is love. And that love is demonstrated in the sinless life of Jesus Christ.
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” 1 Peter 2:21-24
The love of God is demonstrated in a sinless life, not a life defined at its core by sin wrapped in the feelings and emotions of the flesh. All sin is pleasurable for a season but the end of it is death. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.
That is the good news of the Gospel. No man has to be a slave to sin any more. If we stumble or fall in the pursuit of a righteous sinless life, God’s got our back. We have an advocate with the Father who is Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the One who has paid the debt for our sin. But He did not pay that debt to just give us a license to boldly, freely go on sinning and transgressing the law of righteousness. He did not die the cruel death of the cross to give us permission to resist the transforming work of the Holy Spirit to transform us into the image of the One who is sinless and righteous, our Lord Jesus Christ.
The true message of the Gospel, which the sinful world of ungodly men and demons do not want people to hear, is God accepts into His church whosoever will come, just as they are, if they come to Him willing to be changed, willing to be conformed to the image of Christ. This is the ultimate reason for the existence of the church. It is the only place of true transformation from the death of sin to the eternal life of righteousness in Christ.
Men will never overcome their natural fallen, unregenerate human nature apart from submission to God. No matter how much they espouse their independence from God, their more highly evolved intellect or their claim to not need a Savior, they are all destined for failure and destruction because that is at the heart and soul of the human DNA, sin.
Even now we see the evidence of it all around, the intolerance and vile anger of those who demand absolute allegiance to their cause which they lord over their followers with threats of violence and destruction against anyone who opposes them, with the masters at the top controlling the masses of their godless movement. No one dare have and independent or opposing point of view among them, lest they suffer ridicule and the wrath of the mob.
The pervasive rule of the Roman world with it’s Caesars and ruling overlords was the world into which Jesus Christ was born and in which His Church was first established on the day of Pentecost some 2000 years ago. Because of Him and because of the Holy Spirit the world and particularly the nations that honored Him as the Savior of the world grew, prospered and became strong by the favor of the Lord because those nations acknowledged Jesus as Lord.
The Gospel was preached to nearly every nation and every people on the face of the earth and miracles, signs and wonders followed. Despite the resistance of rulers against them, schisms within the company of believers and persecutions throughout its history the church has continued to rise up again and again a strong and mighty church that few dared to challenge. In the hearts of most of her people, though none were perfect, there was a healthy fear of God. Even the secular state served to protect and defend basic Judeo Christian principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Of Life Jesus said,
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
Of Liberty (Freedom) He said,
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31-32
Of the Pursuit of Happiness, the Scriptures tell us,
“Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.” Psalm 144:15
“Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God…” Psalm 146:5
“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.” Proverbs 3:13
“He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.” Proverbs 14:21
“He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.” Proverbs 16:20
The freedoms that we have come to enjoy are based on these truths.
Once again the church is facing the same old challenge from the same spirit that was cast out from the presence of God because iniquity was found in him and he sought to exalt himself above God. [Ezekiel 28:12-19; Isaiah 14:12-20] That same spirit rests in the heart of those who would seek to destroy God’s Church, the people of God, the Body of Christ who stand in the stark contrast of holiness and light against his darkness and evil.
And he will not win in our time just as he has never won in times past; though in every generation he has sought to gain more ground. But we, who are called by the name of the Lord need not fear him, but stand firm in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and proclaim the Gospel, worshiping God in spirit and in truth, living our faith without compromise and being fully persuaded that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.
But beloved let us be doers of the Word and not hearers only. Yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in you. Have faith in the God, Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. What we do and say will show the world Whose we are and Who we serve.